It was an emotionally draining day. I began the day very early with a visit to the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in Jerusalem. I felt blessed to have the opportunity to pray in the tomb of Jesus Christ. I left on an emotional high and charged for another productive day in Israel.
Later in the day, we visited Yad Vashem, Israel’s official memorial to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. We watched video archives, read transcripts, viewed photos and exhibits. It was one of the most meaningful experiences of my life. I felt that I walked in two different places, both marking extremes of good and evil in our world’s history, both within just a few kilometers of one another.
Earlier this week, we met with the Palestinian Authority to learn the Palestinian perspective on the prospect of peace. According to the PA, Israel is and has been the aggressor. Today we met with the official spokesperson for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to understand the Israeli perspective. It was interesting to hear both sides. According to Mr. Regev, the Prime Minister has offered to meet with Palestinian officials “anytime, anyplace with no preconditions for peace talks.” He expressed appreciation and gratitude of the United States for its role in the latest cease fire with Hamas.
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Bio: Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela represents District 5, which includes west and central Phoenix. He is blogging during a trip to Israel about his experiences in the tumultuous Holy Land.
Daniel is a fourth-generation Phoenician and a special operations firefighter. He and his wife of 17 years have two children and live in Phoenix.